Death is the ultimate, unavoidable, inescapable reality facing all of mankind. We are born, we live, we give birth – and then we die. Death has an impressive statistic – 100% success rate!
Faced with this reality, mankind tries to prolong life, avoid death, and in the process find some meaning and fulfillment in the middle as they are pursuing life on the road to death.
And mankind, held in fear and terror in the prison house of death, is on a desperate quest for life and for someone who can deliver from death.
And in Isaiah’s day, the nations looked for life from gods who traded in death. If you wanted food for life and rain and sun to produce that life-giving food, you traded part of your life and at times you even gave a life to get more life.
If you wanted safety, provision, protection, or deliverance from those circumstances or enemies that sought your life, you at times brought a life to an altar and ended that life in some intentional, sacrificial way in order for more and greater life to result from the reality of death.
However, at best, these desperate tactics only delayed death. Eventually, every individual and every nation faces death.
Even the gods die. This reality is so fixed in our collective mindset that every idolatrous system has a god who specializes in death, who traffics in mortality.
And even the rest of the pantheon of gods were not immune to death. Not only were the gods not from the beginning, not only did they have beginnings, they also had endings.
All but one. Israel’s God – Yahweh!
Not only did their God never die, He had the power to kill death. And even more importantly to grant life!
Yahweh is life, and His Son is the way to eternal life.
God creates life, but He also grants life to those who live under the dark shadow of death’s very real curse.
And even more astonishing is that we find that death itself proceeded from the judicial pronouncement of God against those who transgressed His life-giving Word.
The penalty for exchanging God’s Word for the words of the serpent is death. When one departs from the life-giving words of the God who is life and from Whom all of life flows, the only other alternative is death.
But the God who pronounced death has also killed death – by death! Because originally death was given strength and reality by sin. And when God, through the vicarious life and death of Himself through Jesus, died, death was defeated. And all those who embrace this death are granted life!
Behold our God…of life!